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Press release from PR Newswire

Noble Corporation Announces Agreement to Construct Second Globetrotter-Class Ultra-Deepwater Drillship

Monday, August 09, 2010

Noble Corporation Announces Agreement to Construct Second Globetrotter-Class Ultra-Deepwater Drillship17:00 EDT Monday, August 09, 2010ZUG, Switzerland, Aug. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE) today announced that a subsidiary has signed contracts for the construction of a new, dynamically positioned ultra-deepwater Globetrotter-class drillship with South Korea's STX Heavy Industries Co., LTD ("STX") and Dutch-based design and construction firm Huisman Equipment B.V.  The Noble Globetrotter II drillship is the second unit to be constructed for the Company utilizing a two phase process wherein the hull will be built by STX at their state-of-the-art facility in Dalian, China, and then the unit will be delivered to the Netherlands where Huisman will oversee the installation and commissioning of the topside equipment.  As previously reported, operations are expected to commence on this second unit in the second half of 2013 and on the first Noble Globetrotter in late 2011.  The delivered cost of Noble Globetrotter II, excluding capitalized interest, is estimated at $550 million.  Both units are contracted to work for Shell under 10-year terms as previously announced in conjunction with Noble's acquisition of FDR Holdings Limited.  The contract dayrates during the first five years are $410,000 per day plus a 15 percent performance bonus potential.  During the second five years, the dayrates will be based on a market index, repriced every six months, and the units will also be eligible for a 15 percent performance bonus."We are excited to announce the continuation of our newbuild program with the addition of this second new ultra-deepwater Globetrotter-class rig," said David W. Williams, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Noble. "Having secured contracts for both of our Noble Globetrotter drillships, these units further our goals of presenting our shareholders with superior returns while at the same time offering an uncompromising product to our customers and moving the Noble fleet towards more advanced technology," added Williams.The Noble Globetrotter II will measure 620 feet long and 105 feet wide and will utilize Huisman's multi-purpose tower design, capable of conducting both drilling and pipe assembly operations contemporaneously.  The drillship will be capable of drilling to a vertical depth of 40,000 feet and will feature DP-3 station-keeping ability, 18,000 tons of variable deck load, and quarters for 180 personnel.About NobleNoble is a leading offshore drilling contractor for the oil and gas industry. Noble performs, through its subsidiaries, contract drilling services with a fleet of 69 offshore drilling units (including five drilling rigs currently under construction), located worldwide, including in the Middle East, India, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, the Mediterranean, the North Sea, Brazil, West Africa and Asian Pacific. Noble also owns and operates a dynamically positioned floating production, storage, offloading vessel.  Noble's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "NE". Additional information on Noble Corporation is available via the worldwide web at http://www.noblecorp.com.Statements regarding the construction process, construction costs, delivery dates, operating capabilities, dayrates, shareholder value and returns, as well as any other statements that are not historical facts in this release, are forward-looking statements that involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. These include but are not limited to actions by regulatory authorities or other third parties, delays, costs and difficulties related to the construction of newbuild rigs, market conditions, actions by customers and other third parties, factors affecting the level of activity in the oil and gas industry, supply and demand of drilling rigs, factors affecting the duration of contracts, the actual amount of downtime, our ability to meet performance bonus criteria, violations of anti-corruption laws, hurricanes and other weather conditions, the future price of oil and gas and other factors detailed in the Company's most recent Form 10-K, Form 10-Q's and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those indicated.SOURCE Noble CorporationFor further information: Investors, Lee M. Ahlstrom, Vice President - Investor Relations and Planning, +1-281-276-6440, or Media, John S. Breed, Director - Corporate Communications, +1-281-276-6729, both of Noble Drilling Services Inc.